‘Healthy’ has been a buzzword for a while now, when it comes to buying ready-made snacks and it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of products being newly marketed. But food can be marketed to give the impression it’s healthy, while still being packed full of the baddies like sugar and preservatives. Unfortunately, while pre-packaged snacks are extremely convenient, you are often better off with a simple, naturally-occurring alternative. Here are a few eye-openers for you:
Low-fat fruit yogurt
If you’re thinking ‘it’s got fruit in it, how can it be bad?’ then think again. The fruit in yogurt snacks is soaked in sugar to preserve it. For a healthier alternative, try buying plain, natural yogurt and add fresh fruit to it yourself. Your body will thank you.
Like the fruit in yogurt, dried fruit is packed full of sugar and preservatives. A better option is to snack on fresh fruit. If you don’t have the time or inclination to cut up fresh fruit, mandarins can be a great choice due to their segments.
Like many of the snacks we’re looking at here, ready-made smoothies can contain a high amount of added sugar. The healthier alternative would be to make your own smoothie. Use natural yogurt, leafy greens and banana for a natural and potassium-packed boost to your energy levels.
Ready-made raw snack bars
Although these are whole food bars, the fruit within them is still dried and this means added sugar. For a really healthy raw snack bar, make your own, featuring nuts, seeds, and coconut milk.
Vegan protein bars
If your vegan protein bar contains processed soy and artificial sweeteners, your snack is not as healthy as you thought. Processed soy is a poor form of protein. Try making raw protein balls for the best nutritional snack, with chia seeds, almond flour and cacao powder for protein.
While granola bars may have some added nutritional benefits, they still contain unhealthy and unnecessary ingredients. As an alternative, try a cup of almonds and sunflower seeds, or make your own trail mix.
Veggie chips are often highly processed and not significantly healthier than ordinary potato chips. Dehydrated, processed vegetables can’t compete with the nutrition found in fresh produce. Try spiralizing, baking a sweet potato, or beetroot rostis. For a faster alternative, slice up some carrot and celery for that healthy crunch.
While they aren’t bad to eat, rice cakes also hold very little nutritional value. It’s important to get as much nutritional value out of each meal as possible, even with snacks. For a better alternative, look for whole grain crackers containing several grams of protein and fiber per serve. Top with tomato for flavor and freshness.
If you’re avoiding gluten for health reasons, you still need to be aware of the nutritional nature of your snack. A lot of gluten-free cookies aren’t any healthier than ordinary cookies. Instead, look for cookies with brown rice, amaranth or quinoa for some added protein.
Dairy-free ice cream
If you’re lactose intolerant, you may think eating dairy-free is only going to benefit your health. But you need to be wary of ice cream that contains a lot of processed soy, flavors, sugar, and preservatives. Consuming too much of these can have a negative effect on your health. The best way to avoid this is to make your own ice cream. Try recipes featuring nuts and a coconut milk base.
Unfortunately, just because you choose an organic coffee, doesn’t mean it is good for you. Organic coffee can still contain mycotoxins which cause overstimulation and resulting health concerns. When you choose an organic coffee, check that it is mycotoxin-free.
It can be disappointing to find out something that you believed was healthy, isn’t as beneficial as you thought. But the great alternatives we’ve provided here should help you on your way!